Ozzie’s Grill Goes Cold


After three decades of serving burgers and fries in Rincon Valley, the grill at Ozzie’s will go cold on Nov. 12. 2011.

Owner Jeff Gonsalves said it’s a devastating blow, but increasing competition from chains like Burger King (which recently opened on Mission Blvd.), Five Guys and In-N-Out along with a down economy have forced him to shut the doors at Ozzie’s Grill (799 Montecito Center, Santa Rosa).

“I’m just a normal guy who has cooked all his life. We aren’t rich and we can’t float this place all winter. I could be $50,000 in debt by February,” said Gonsalves, who purchased the restaurant from the original owners three years ago.

“Cheese, bacon, everything has gone up in price, and people just aren’t eating out,” he said. “We’re paying out more bills than we’re taking in,” he said.

Gonsalves said other local retailers in the Montecito Center Shopping center — like many mom and pop shops throughout Sonoma County — have been slower over the last 15 months and are worried about the long winter ahead. “Maybe the bar is doing better, I don’t know,” he added.

Gonsalves tried to sell the restaurant, but said he hasn’t had any serious offers. “It’s just sad. A few years ago, you’d see 20 trucks out there in the parking lot at 11am. People were coming from Rohnert Park, all over for my burgers. Now, maybe there’s one truck. I’m not rich, you know? We just can’t do it anymore,” said Gonsalves.

Author: biteclub

Food Dining and Restaurants in Sonoma County and beyond, BiteClubEats.com is Wine Country dining with Drive-Thru Sensibility.

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24 Comments

  1. Can anyone find the article this picture came from, it is an old one. It was in the press Democrat about the best burger in town. It was around 2003. Although I feel bad for the NEW owners loosing their business, it is not Ozzies without Chris OZZIE. Chris was like a father to me, he was one of my best friends. I STILL love his family, all of you. Mary Lu KK Trish The girls Steven Gina all of you. I want to find this article badly. For all those loyal fans to the old Ozzies thank you, I worked there for years. oh and Patty Williams miss you too.

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  2. It looks like something is opening ing the former Ozzie’s. Heather can you look into it please!

    Thanks

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    • Something is happening! Good stuff! Will be opening next week. Menu already published and can’t wait to check it out. I think all you old “ozzie” fans will be pleasantly surprised!

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  3. I have been to Ozzie’s a few times and always enjoyed the burger and fries. I moved out of Santa Rosa a few years ago and only go into S.R. when I really have to. This week I happened to be in S.R. and went to IN & OUT … what a rip off. Wafer thin burger (not even sure it was beef) and cold fries. I haven’t been to many burger places in S.R. but Piner Cafe has always served a great burger. Tell me this hasn’t changed.

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    • Hey Bob – Beginning next week when you make your next trek to Santa Rosa you can re-visit the new Ozzie’s for another great burger! Check it out!

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  4. I started going to Ozzie’s about 3 years ago and I loved it from day one. I live in Rohnert Park and work near Ozzie’s. It was a great place to eat,with great food and great people. I always enjoyed talking with Jeff about…well…anything, he made me fell like family. It was a nice to have my family visit me for a lunch on a short school days and we would always go to Ozzie’s. My son and daughter enjoyed bringing a friend to lunch and introduing them to Ozzie’s. My sons favorite (and mine) was the grilled hotdogs and extra crispy french fries. I am truly sad to see you go and will miss seeing you on a regular basis. Oh yah, I want that ice machine, it makes the best shaped for any cold drink!
    Ed Chasco – Cal North Adjusters

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  5. The cheese sucked, the frys sucked but the straight up burgers were good. I love when people complain about “greasy burger joints” becauss they are the only good one around. Five Guys sucks, tasteless burgers. The super Burger on 4th is pretty good but the one in penn grove is the best. sequoia burger is always killer and dee’s in sebastopol is a rip off. in and out is good if you like paper thin patties but the price is always right. not many places left around to get a legit burger without feeling raped.

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  6. Sad to see this place go. I lived in Rincon Valley for a long time and grew up going to Ozzies! Unfortunately the service and food quality went to crap a long time ago. It’s not the economy’s fault, it’s the fact that Ozzies stop making a good product with good service a long time ago! As in previous comments, it became a nasty greasy burger joint. All the customers moved onto greener pastures to spend their money on quality food!

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  7. Ozzies made a good burger- it was close to our neighborhood- that being said- the original owners ran off more business than they ever got. Their attitude toward customers sucked- their business was over when the Mexican joint went in next door. RIP

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  8. First off it hasn’t been there for 30 years more like 20 second it was a good place to eat with fair prices when Chris Ozzie owned it. the new owners jacked up the prices and lowered the food quality not surprised its going under now R.I.P. Chris Ozzie

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    • The only time Ozzie’s was busy is when Chrissy owned it and we did a heck of a bussines and we had customers who came almost every day for our great burgers and milk shakes,and our fried hotdogs!!!so to to the person who said Ozzie’s ran off more business than they had doesn’t know a damm thing…R.I.P. Crissy To the people who supported the real Ozzie’s thank you for all your wonderful years of supporting us!!! They keep the name but alot of people knew how Ozzie’s really came about…

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      • Right on Marylou! Stevo and I went to Ozzie’s not just to see Chrissy (RIP) but for the best burgers in town. Chrissy let my grandson Jonny fry his own hotdogs and the 4 year old became “a griller”. Whether is was morning coffee or just to sit around and shoot the bull, Ozzie’s was the place to be in Rincon Valley! We miss our Ozzie’s family! Teri, Steveo and Jonny.

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    • To Kevin..
      Well said
      Thank you

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  9. This is so sad. When I was a nanny, years ago, the twins that I cared for LOVED Ozzie’s. Whenever they were especially good, we would take them there for a special treat. I can still remember the cute way they would say the name “Aaaaaahhh theeese”. It was a good place to get a burger. I’m sorry that our economy has forced it’s close. I wish you luck in your future endeavors. :)

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  10. Always love the outcry when a restaurant goes under…..loved it, will miss it, best food etc.. Here’s an idea…. If you loved it that much you would have gone more often and it wouldn’t be closing.

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    • We can barely make our rent these days so we can’t go out perforce; that doesn’t mean we can’t be sad when a place we used to love going to goes under, don’t be a silly ass.

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  11. the only place to go for a great bacon cheeseburger, my family goes at least once a month. Will miss Ozzie’s great food

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  12. Jeff, I am so sorry to hear about your closing your hamburger place. My husband and I owned “Lovable Wally’s back in the 70′s. We sold after 3 years because of the economy at that time. That was when hamburger prices “skyrocketed, gas prices skyrocketed, etc.” If I had the money now I would buy your place. It was always Wally’s dream to get back into the business. Of course, he is gone now, but I wish you the best and hope things work out for you and your family. These are tough times and none of the chains can even compare to what you have. It is really sad to hear. Linda Moore

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  13. So sad to here many good businesses have shut down due to this crappy economy I myself know to well that small business are always the first to go . Sorry that this is way this world works . You will be missed by many good luck to all you in your future endevers .

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  14. man! i sure am going to miss your food! the one with avocado and bacon and bbq sause and cheese and 2 patties! i would drive from coffee park to eat at your place and the fries were the bomb! loved the ice tidbits too! i would brag about your food and prices to all of my friends! your entire staff was very sweet! you will be missed so much! i might have to break my diet and go eat there tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    please come back someday!

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  15. Aww, that’s too bad. I remember I was pretty sad when it shut down temporarily a few years ago. Support local businesses people! Good luck in the future Mr. Gonzalves!

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  16. Hello Jeff,

    So sorry you’ll be closing! We are frequent customers who always ordered a Bacon Cheeseburger and Chicken Club which are both super yummy.

    Hope your health is good and something good comes your way.

    Christina & Wes

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  17. LAME!!! Ozzie’s was one of the only good greasy burger joints around :-(

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